Christina De Middel was born in 1975 in Alicante, Spain. In 2012 she self published, The Afranauts which is a photobook documenting the life of a South African astronaut and the story of a short lived Zambian space programme. The books were a huge hit and sold immediately, collectors now sell the books for £1000. She studied fine art at university in Valencia, to earn a living she became a photojournalist, however this didn’t suit her tastes and she began playing with fictions.
It was whilst she was researching psychological experiments that she discovered the Zambian space mission, which was on a list of the top ten craziest experiments. Edward Makuka Nkoloso, the founder of Zambia’s National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy, began a mission to send the first African astronauts to Mars. He planned to send two specially trained cats up there too. Christina De Middel’s response was, is this true? And she really liked the optimism in the story. It was indeed fact but she mixed it with her own fiction to create her photo-book.
She wanted to re-create the feel of the American moon landing whilst capturing the African spirit. The astronauts costume was made by her grandmother and for the helmet she used an old broken street light. Alongside the new images that she created she displayed originals from the archive along with official documents.
The photos that she constructed, are beautiful in colour, but slightly remind me of an Instagram picture, because of the square shape, and filtered look of the photo, this is not necessarily a bad thing, it adds a very modern feel to the photograph, This might have even been taken from the Instagram page her work was shared on publicly. Now I know that she used a streetlight cover for the helmet, It’s really noticeable to me now, where the light has burnt the glass.
I find that this photo works really well, as a photo from Mars just because of the backdrop she has chosen to use. It mimics the red stone look you’d expect/ imagine to see on Mars.
It looks as if it could be from a weird fashion campaign, it is very posed and directed.
This photo looks like one of those iconic ones you’d find in the newspaper about a moon landing.
The angle she’s chosen to shoot at gives it an overall dynamic look.